Pretty much anything – even good things – used badly or to the extreme can damage or destroy your organization or career. One of those top issues is misguided loyalty – or to be honest, even loyalty – period. Loyalty is a wonderful trait, and most leaders want their team to be loyal. But be careful not to confuse “loyalty” for “competence.” After all, how successful can you be when you have a loyal but incompetent team?
I know one large media organization who’s CEO put his longtime and very loyal assistant in charge of their TV studio. She was a good person. She was loyal. But she knew absolutely nothing about television. As a result, the entire division started a nosedive and it still hasn’t recovered.
A large church on the West Coast has a marketing director who I estimate costs them more than $100,000 a year through incompetence in the form of missed deadlines, poor work, selecting bad vendors, hiring the wrong team, and more. But since she’s a loyal second generation church employee, there’s little chance she’ll ever be fired. Which means the church will continue losing vast amounts of money and being more and more ineffective.
I hope all my team members are loyal, but you must always understand the balance of loyalty and expertise, so you can position your organization for ultimate success.